Media Statement by MP for Damansara and DAP National Publicity Secretary, Tony Pua in Kuala Lumpur on 30 September 2021:
The failure of the Government to phase out MyTravelPass is a clear cut example of an incompetent administration bent on making life difficult and miserable for the people
I had carried out two press conferences last week to make a plea on behalf of many Malaysians, whose lives were severely and unnecessarily inconvenienced and made miserable by a ‘MyTravelPass’ policy which has outlived its usefulness.
Since the press conferences, I’ve received even more emails from ordinary Malaysians complaining about the slow and bureaucratic process.
I was hoping, with positive signals coming from those in Government, that MyTravelPass will soon be scrapped, instantly resolving the tens of thousands of applications currently awaiting approval from the Immigration Department.
However, the announcement made by the Immigration Department yesterday evening fell far short of what Malaysians were hoping for. The announcement added several categories of applicants who no longer require MyTravelPass approval to leave the country. They include:
- Emergency matters relating to death and critical illness
- Participating in sports events, meetings and seminars
- Meeting spouses overseas, but only if the marriage is not registered in Malaysia, and
- Participating in humanitarian missions overseas
While the exemption of the above categories of people from MyTravelPass is welcomed, they failed to include at the very least, the most important category, which are for people who have secured employment overseas. By persisting with the slow and bureaucratic process for this overlooked category, the livelihood of thousands of Malaysians, and their families are put in jeopardy.
Let me read some of the pleas from the complainants here:
(1) I am X from Pontian, Johor. My Fiancé is from Punjab, India. We have been away from each other since the past 18 months plus. We were supposed to:
27 April 2020 = Registration of Marriage at JPN Pontian, Johor
24 June 2020 – 28 June 2020 = Wedding Week at KL
Please try to understand the mental health of us Malaysian long-distance relationship couples as well. Even for safety reasons, a Fiancé and Fiancée should not be forced to separate for too long, especially if they all have received 2 doses of vaccine no matter of their countries of origin and whatever their vaccine brands.
I really would like to appeal to all the relevant authorities and government officials to please allow international travel between countries for us all to be reunited with our partners, couples, spouses, families and loved ones across countries as soon as possible especially with ‘flexibility’ for those who have already been fully vaccinated for both incoming and outgoing travel. Please do make the traveling SOP, guidelines, rules and regulations easy, simple and direct.
This pandemic and lockdowns has made it entirely impossible to meet, with all those ‘MyTravelPass’ (MTP) hassle, ‘Sistem Temujanji Online’ (STO) long period awaiting appointments, no replies of emails and no phone calls being answered for inquiries by officers in charge especially for unclear documentation and confusing process for ‘Long Term Social Visit Pass’ (LTSVP).
Please hear us out. Please acknowledge our tears. Its been really too long and extremely difficult to be cooped up at home and we are all here waiting every single day for the light at the end of the tunnel and good news which would bring some relief and lots of happiness to us amid the ongoing pandemic.
(2) We been submitted the application on 6th September 2021. We don’t know it’s our application already left behind.
It’s been too long for approval. And it’s not guarantee can get the approval. Once if rejected, we might need to waste don’t know how much time for reapply to get approval.
As we are very urgent on these matters, cause the oversea project already a lot behind schedule. We sent many queries to Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia, KDN Sistem Pertanyaan Online. They just ask to be patient.
(3) I work in Robert Bosch as a technology specialist and have been summoned to perform the new validation for machines early next month. I have submitted all the details as needed and still pending approval.
The main point to be brought up is we from the industry are now struggling to make this transfers and work happen. Bear in mind this will be good for the job hiring in future as well as further investment for us the industry and the Country to move further ahead from this pandemic.
I myself am stucked and have missed my flight tomorrow to Headquarters in Germany for the trial and approvals of the work related matter. I however have asked for extension and this can only be done for a week now. Take note that the other side preparation has been made with less bureaucracy.
(4) I am a medical doctor working under KKM and I’m deeply saddened and disheartened by the treatment given to me recently during my 2 visits to JIM Putrajaya Passport Department to enquire about my application for MyTravelPass.
My partner/fiancé is unwell due to Deep Vein Thrombosis over the left lower limb which has a risk of causing pulmonary embolism and is currently undergoing acute treatment in France. He is a permanent resident of France.
My first application for MTP was made on 19/8/2021 and when I went over to the “Kawalan” counter on 3/9/3021 at 10.30am… At 4pm, a male officer came out to tell me that my application was rejected due to incomplete supporting documents.
That shocked me even further because I was sitting right there in the waiting place since morning and a simple courtesy of enquiring me regarding the supporting documents could have solved the issue right there as I brought all the original copies of the documents. He told me to make a new application…
I left that office that day with tears in front of all the officers who looked at me without any empathy and humanity. I felt heartbroken thinking as I served my patients so sincerely all these days working day and night with such difficulty during this Covid pandemic, yet I can’t be there for my partner who needs me there now.
I made a new application with all the required documents again the same evening.
On Monday 6/9/2021, I went again to the same office to beg again. This time it was Pn Azhanida who was at the counter who spoke to me so rudely, not willing to even listen to my explanation. I had to tell her I am a doctor to make her listen to me. I thought to myself, “if a professional who had been serving the country had to go through such poor treatment in a government office, I pity all those poor citizens for how they would be treated.”
After I kept begging her, she went in and came back to tell me that this is not urgent! I AM A MEDICAL DOCTOR WHO IS TELLING THEM THAT MY FIANCE HAVE DVT AND THERE SHE IS (WONDER WHAT IS HER QUALIFICATION) TELLING MY FACE THAT IT’S NOT URGENT BECAUSE THE ONE SUFFERING THERE IS NOT MY HUSBAND BY MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE.
Till date, none of the System Pertanyaan Online (SPO) enquiries, emails which were sent were replied to.
If the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Ismail Sabri have a heart, he must listen to the pleas of the people, who he claims to be part of “Keluarga Malaysia”. At the very least, the Government must immediately broaden the criteria for approval to include those with employment offers overseas, and for all spouses, fiances, fiancees and partners, as well as to broaden the emergency applications to all caregivers, who may not be immediate family members.
What is more important if the Government is persisting with the obsolete ‘MyTravelPass’ requirements is for the applications to be approved within the stipulated 14 days, and that if any application is not approved by then, an automatic approval is granted.
‘MyTravelPass’ was implemented at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when travel abroad was deemed highly risky, especially when local infection rates were then extremely low and no vaccines were available.
However, the circumstances have changed dramatically and completely. Hence, there’s absolutely no reason to restrict Malaysians, particularly those who have been fully vaccinated, from travelling overseas as long as they are permitted to enter the destination countries. Those travelling overseas will still be subjected to the required quarantine process upon their return to the country to prevent any imported infection from spreading locally.
Phasing out MyTravelPass is a critical component of Malaysia’s road to economic recovery as it will play a significant role in reviving our ailing travel industry – airlines, airports, travel agencies etc., which employs hundreds of thousands of workers.
My hope that the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Ismail Sabri to expedite the phasing out of MyTravelPass immediately, as a critical step towards economic recovery in the battered travel economic sector.